GREEN LIGHT – Karen Lucas works in her Katlian Street garden this afternoon. Warm sunny weather this spring has been a boon for local gardeners. The Farmers' Almanac is predicting this summer will be warmer than normal, with the hottest period in early July. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Peter John Karras Sr.

Peter John Karras Sr.

Peter John Karras Sr. went home to be with his loving Savior, Jesus, on March 12, 2018, at the age of 91. He died peacefully in his own home with his wife in the room and their youngest son, Ernie, at his side.
A celebration of life service will be held 10 a.m. Monday, March 26, at Centennial Hall. Burial will follow at 1:30 p.m. at Sitka National Cemetery, and then a potluck reception will be held back at Centennial Hall. As the service may be long, food won’t be served until around 2:30 p.m.
Viewing will be 6-7 p.m. Sunday, March 25, at Prewitt’s Funeral Home.
Pete was born Dec. 3, 1926, in Oakland, California. During World War II he served in the U.S. Navy aboard the USS Saratoga and the USS Core
He came to Sitka more than 65 years ago, and married Bertha Jacobs here on Sept. 27, 1952.
He was a cook and then a dietition at Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital, retiring in 1982, and he and Bertha opened Karras Bed & Breakfast in their Kaagwaantaan Street home, overlooking Sitka Channel. After his health worsened, the  famous breakfasts had to be dropped.
He was especially known for his sourdough bread and Easter bread.
Pete served his community well. He was a member of the Alaska Native Brotherhood, American Legion Post 13, the Lions Club, and other organizations, and cooked and served thousands of meals during his decades of volunteering his time and his talents.
He was active in the First Presbyterian Church, where was an elder.
A Boy Scout leader, he was a father figure to many, and a favorite uncle to many nieces and nephews.
Pete taught all his children (as well as many others) to swim at the Sheldon Jackson pool.
Another service Pete was known for was being Santa Claus. With his white beard, friendly smile and affinity for kids, he was a popular Santa at many local events, and traveled to Bellevue, Wash., year after year to be Santa at a shopping center.
One year, Pete and Bertha were invited to Japan for a memorial celebration for famous photographer, Michio. While in Japan, Pete dressed as Santa Claus and attracted many children.
Pete loved to go hunting and fishing, and made many excursions with his sons. He made his last trip at 87, with his youngest son Ernie, who remembers being as young as 4 when he first went fishing with his dad.
Even going into his final years, Peter’s mind wanted to do what his body would no longer allow him to. He was unstoppable, bound and determined to do whatever he could as long as he could. He would say he wished he could’ve done more in his life.
As his health declined Pete spent most of his final few years at home, with Bertha always at his side or nearby. He refused to go to an old folks home and his family refused to take him. On Dec. 2, 2016, he declared no more hospital stays. He was bedridden from that time on, Bertha continually at his side taking the most excellent care of him. He set some records as a strong survivor at home, living well over a year longer than expected.
Pete and Bertha were the “cutest old couple” ever, their children said. They would just gaze into each other’s eyes for a long time, like no one else was watching.
“Most of all Daddy loved Momma so much that he wanted to stay around as long as he could for her, knowing how much she loved him back and how much it was going to crush her when he graduated to his forever home with Jesus,” his children said. “Momma was the best and most beautiful nurse ever.  She made him want to live, taking the absolute best care for him. Momma can’t say enough good things about him.”
His family expressed thanks to all who reached out to them during their difficult time.
“Your kind words, flowers, food and monetary gifts have been very much appreciated,” they said. “Condolences have come from as near as Alaska and as far away as Japan – the Japanese absolutely love Pete and Bertha Karras and tell us that they are famous there.”
Pete was a proud father of six, a grandfather of 19 and a great-grandfather of 16, but most importantly a great husband to Bertha, his wife of more than 65 plus years.
Peter John Karras Sr. was preceded in death by his daughter Georgina (Kacyon) Dapcevich, married to Dave Dapcevich at the time of her death; and by his sister, Helen Knight, and brothers Gus and William Karras.
Along with his wife, Bertha, Pete is survived by his younger brother George Karras of Seattle; and children  Pamela Eby of North Carolina, Peter Karras Jr. of Sitka, Mike Karras of Anchorage, Cass Pook of Sitka and Ernie Karras, Juneau.
His grandchildren are Jeremiah Kacyon, Karen Sites, Jenae Eby, Tim Eby, Shawn Eby, Corban Eby, Crystal Karras, Corinne Parker, Clara Walley, Catherine Karras, Cheryl Karras, Cynthia Karras, Cassandra Branthoover, Chloe Turner, Cayla Pook, Seth Pook, Cedar Pook, Firey Karras and Robert Karras.
Nieces and nephews include Dan Knight, Myrna Owens, Greg Karras, Kim Looney, Chris Karras, Matt Powers, Anna Haak, Joe Powers, James Powers, John Tilden, Stephen Tilden, Sam Tilden, Dennis Barnes, Maria Peters, Carolyn Barnes, Ernie Barnes, James Barnes, Paula Barnes, Myron Barnes, Janice Jackson, Billy Osborn, Joann Jackson and Harold Jacobs.
Pallbearers will be Peter Karras, Mike Karras, Ernie Karras, Matt Powers, Dennis Barnes and Ernie Barnes
Honorary pallbearers are Mike Mayo, Roy Levine, Spike Arnold, Gene Burton, Dave Dapcevich, James Barnes, Harry Bradley, Andy Johnson and Keith Greba.



Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 5-28-20)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of 10:55 a.m. Thursday.

New cases as of Wednesday: 13

Total statewide – 425

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 46, and the cumulative number of deaths is 10.

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.



Welcome to the Sitka Sentinel's web page. In order to make the Sentinel's news more easily available during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken down the paywall to access articles on this page. Just click on an article headline to read the story. 

March 23, 2020



For the duration of the COVID-19 disaster emergency declared by federal, state and local authorities, the Sentinel is taking additional measures to reduce virus exposure to its employees and contractors as well as to the public, while continuing to publish a daily news report for Sitka.

To the extent possible, Sentinel news and sales staff will be working from home. For the protection of our carriers, home delivery of the newspaper will be stopped effective Tuesday, March 24.

The Sentinel will continue to publish on its website sitkasentinel.com. Access to the website will be free to all users. The Sentinel will also produce a print edition Monday through Friday. It will be available to all readers without charge, at locations throughout town.

Initially, these locations are those where the Sentinel's newspaper vending machines are already in place. The coin mechanisms will be disabled or the doors removed to permit easy access. The Sentinel will work with the stores where the paper is usually sold, to designate a place inside or outside the store where the free edition can be made available.  

Home delivery subscriptions are on hold, and after the end of the disaster emergency, subscriptions will be extended at no charge for the number of days that there was no home delivery.

The Sentinel will make its print edition available to the public as early in the day as possible. with all personnel taking precautions to prevent spread of the virus.

The Sentinel is calling upon its customers to observe the COVID-19 emergency precautions already in place, particularly in maintaining a six-foot social distance from others at newspaper distribution sites.

Following is the statement issued by the Sentinel on March 16, stating the Sentinel's emergency procedures, which remain in effect.

The Sentinel office at 112 Barracks Street is closed to the public. We encourage people to use the phone, email or the U.S. Postal Service as much as possible.There is a slot in the front door of the office for ads, news items and payment checks. Emails may be sent to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and the phone number is (907) 747-3219.                                                                          

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